Title:
Apparatus, Method and System For Reducing Adhesive Wear On A Power Take-Off Shaft
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus comprising a power take-off shaft includes an outer shaft and an inner shaft. The outer shaft includes an outer periphery and an inner periphery. The inner shaft includes an outer periphery and an inner periphery. A notch is configured around at least a portion of the outer periphery of the inner shaft, and a self-lubricating material is disposed on at least a portion of the notch.



Inventors:
Williamson, Warren D. (Palmdale, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/128243
Publication Date:
12/03/2009
Filing Date:
05/28/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
29/469, 74/15.4, 74/15.84, 464/182
International Classes:
F16H37/00; B23P11/00; F16C3/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
JOHNSON, VICKY A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCDERMOTT WILL & EMERY LLP (The McDermott Building 500 North Capitol Street, N.W., Washington, DC, 20001, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An apparatus comprising: a power take-off shaft including an outer shaft and an inner shaft, the outer shaft including an outer periphery and an inner periphery, the inner shaft also including an outer periphery and an inner periphery; a notch around at least a portion of the outer periphery of the inner shaft; and a self-lubricating material disposed on at least a portion of the notch.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: a groove around at least a portion of the outer periphery of the inner shaft; an o-ring, the inside diameter of the o-ring in the groove around at least a portion of the outer periphery of the inner shaft.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising the self-lubricating material protrudes above the notch.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising the self-lubricating material is configured as a hollow cylindrical sleeve including a slot to allow the sleeve to be installed and removed on the inner shaft.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising the self-lubricating material configured as a cylinder including a slot sized to allow the sleeve to expand during operation without overlap

6. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising the self-lubricating material configured as a cylinder including a slot in the periphery of the cylinder, the slot being at an angle of more than fifteen (15) degrees but less than seventy (70) degrees with respect to an axis of the cylinder.

7. The apparatus of claim 1, the inner shaft further comprising: a spline; a first set of lube oil return holes extending from the inner periphery of the inner shaft to the outer periphery of the inner shaft; and a second set of lube oil return holes extending from the inner periphery of the outer shaft to the outer periphery of the outer shaft.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, the inner shaft further comprising an o-ring, the o-ring including an inside periphery and an outside periphery, the inside periphery of the o-ring adjacent to the inner shaft, the outside periphery of the o-ring adjacent to the outer shaft.

9. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: an engine coupled to the inner shaft.

10. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: a gear box coupled to the outer shaft.

11. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising the self-lubricating material chosen from one of the following group of materials: fluoropolymer, nylon, polytetraflouroethylene (“PTFE”), and a non-metallic material.

12. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: the inner shaft including a spline; a lubricating pump; and an o-ring configured to seal lubricating oil between a portion of the inner and outer, the lubricating oil is circulated by the lubricating pump through lube oil return holes in the inner and outer shafts.

13. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: a gear box coupled to the power takeoff shaft and configured to drive at least one of the group consisting of: a hydraulic pump; a direct current generator; an alternating current generator; and a starter motor.

14. A power take-off shaft comprising: a first shaft means including an outer periphery, the outer periphery including a notch; a second shaft means configured to slide over at least a portion of the first shaft; and, a self-lubricating sleeve means, the self-lubricating sleeve means disposed on the notch of the first shaft.

15. The apparatus of claim 12, further comprising the self-lubricating sleeve means including: a proximate side and a distal side; and a slot extending from the proximate side of the sleeve means to the distal side of the sleeve means.

16. A method comprising: uncoupling a first shaft from an engine, the first shaft being a component of a power takeoff shaft; and installing a self-lubricating sleeve in a notch around the periphery of the first shaft without uncoupling a second shaft that is a component of a power take-off shaft from a gear box.

17. The method of claim 16, further comprising: removing the self-lubricating sleeve from the first shaft without uncoupling the power take-off shaft from the gear box.

18. The method of claim 16, further comprising: the self-lubricating sleeve is manufactured from of one of the group of materials consisting of: fluoropolymer, nylon, polytetraflouroethylene (“PTFE”), acetal, and a non-metallic material.

19. A system, comprising: a gear box coupled to at least one of the group consisting of: a starter; a direct current (“DC”) generator; an alternating current (“A/C”) generator, a hydraulic pump, and a starter motor; a power take-off shaft coupled to the gear box, the power take-off shaft including a notch in an outer periphery; a self-lubricating sleeve disposed on the notch; an engine; and a second shaft coupled to the engine, the second shaft configured to slide over at least a portion of the power take-off shaft.

20. The system of claim 19, further comprising: the self-lubricating sleeve is manufactured from of one of the following group of materials consisting of: fluoropolymer, polytetraflouroethylene, acetal, or nylon, and a non-metallic material.

21. The system of claim 19, further comprising the self -lubricating sleeve is a hollow cylinder, the cylinder including a proximate side and a distal side, and a slot from the proximate side of the sleeve to the distal side of the sleeve.

22. The system of claim 19, further comprising: the thickness of the self-lubricating sleeve is greater than the depth of the notch.

23. The system of claim 19, further comprising: a lube oil pump, the discharge of the lube oil pump directed into the inner periphery of the power take-off shaft; the power take-off shaft including an o-ring and oil return slots; and the first shaft including lube oil return slots, the lube oil return slots through the outer periphery of the power take-off shaft to the inner periphery of the power take-off shaft.

Description:

BACKGROUND

A power take-off (PTO) shaft is a splined driveshaft that can be used to draw energy from an engine to provide power to an attachment or separate machine. PTOs typically include an inner shaft that rotates and translates within an outer shaft. Certain areas of a power take-off shaft may develop adhesive wear caused by vibration and repetitive movement between the inner shaft and outer shaft. The adhesive wear can cause binding between the inner shaft and outer shaft, and in extreme cases, can prevent movement between the components. When at PTO shaft fails due to adhesive wear, the inner and outer shaft need to be replaced resulting in maintenance cost and equipment downtime.

SUMMARY

An apparatus comprising a power take-off shaft includes an outer shaft and an inner shaft. The outer shaft includes an outer periphery and an inner periphery. The inner shaft includes an outer periphery and an inner periphery. A notch is configured around at least a portion of the outer periphery of the inner shaft, and a self-lubricating material is disposed on at least a portion of the notch.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

Embodiments disclosed herein may be better understood, and their numerous objects, features, and advantages made apparent to those skilled in the art by referencing the accompanying drawings. The use of the same reference symbols in different drawings indicates similar or identical items.

FIG. 1A is a cross-sectional view of components of an embodiment of a power take-off shaft.

FIG. 1B is a side cross-sectional view of a conventional power take-off shaft.

FIG. 1C is a diagram of a side view of an embodiment of a self-lubricating sleeve that may be used on the power takeoff shaft of FIG. 1A.

FIG. 1D is a diagram of a front view of the self-lubricating sleeve of FIG. 1B.

FIG. 2A is a cross-sectional view of an embodiment of an inner shaft partially engaged in an outer shaft.

FIG. 2B is a cross-sectional view of an embodiment of the inner shaft of FIG. 2A more fully engaged in the outer shaft.

FIG. 2C is a perspective view of an embodiment of the inner shaft of the power take off shaft of FIG. 1A.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram of an embodiment of a power take-off shaft coupled between an engine and a gear box, including components coupled to the gear box

FIG. 4 is a diagram of an embodiment of a power take-off shaft coupled to an accessory drive gear box.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1A shows a side view of an embodiment of a powertake-off shaft 100 that can be used to transmit power from an engine to other equipment such as a gear box. In the embodiment shown, power take-off shaft 100 includes an inner shaft 102 and outer shaft 104 that engages inner shaft 102.

FIG. 1B shows a conventional power takeoff shaft including an area 106 along a portion of the length of shafts 102, 104 that may be subject to adhesive wear caused by inner shaft 102′ moving within outer shaft 104. Adhesive wear is also known as scoring, galling, or seizing, and occurs when two solid surfaces slide over one another under pressure. Surface projections are plastically deformed and eventually welded together by the high local pressure. As sliding continues, the welded bonds are broken, producing cavities on one surface, projections on the other surface, and frequently tiny, abrasive particles, all of which contribute to wear of the surfaces. The wear results in the outer shaft 102′ and/or inner shaft 104 having to be removed from the equipment, discarded or repaired, and then reinstalled in the equipment.

Referring again to FIG. 1A, in some embodiments, a sleeve 108 made of self-lubricating material can be placed in a notch 110 on the outer periphery of inner shaft 102 to physically separate the inner shaft 102 and outer shaft 104. The self-lubricating sleeve 108 reduces adhesive wear by providing a self-lubricated surface that supports contact between the inner and outer shafts 102, 104, thereby preventing the inner shaft 102 and outer shaft 104 from coming into direct contact during operation. FIG. 1A shows sleeve 108 separate from inner shaft 102 and including a slot 112 that allows the ends of sleeve 108 to be separated to create space to allow sleeve 108 to be disposed in notch 110. Sleeve 108 can be made of resilient material that allows sleeve 108 to be easily removed and replaced while shafts 102, 104 are installed in the equipment, thereby reducing maintenance costs and equipment downtime.

In the embodiment shown, inner shaft 102 can further include o-ring 114 disposed in groove 116 to seal lubricating oil between another portion of the lengths of inner shaft 102 and outer shaft 104. Inner shaft 102 and outer shaft 104 can include one or more openings 118, 120 to allow lubricating oil to flow between the shafts 102, 104.

A spline gear 122 can be configured around the periphery of one end inner shaft 102 while another end of inner shaft 102 can include a flange 124 for mounting shaft 102 on equipment. The internal periphery of one end of outer shaft 104 can include a spline gear 126 that mates with the spline gear 122 of inner shaft 102. Spline gears 122, 126 rotate to transfer power from equipment attached to the flange 124 of inner shaft 122 to equipment attached to outer shaft 104.

In an embodiment, gears 122, 126 are configured without an angle so that the gear teeth are parallel to the axis of shafts 102, 104. In this configuration shaft 102 rotates and transmits power to outer shaft 104. The linear configuration of gears 122, 126 allows outer shaft 104 to move axially over shaft 102 with minimal resistance. Shaft 102 and outer shaft 104 typically have an internal periphery and an external periphery. The distance between the internal and external periphery of each shaft 102, 104 is the shaft thickness; although this thickness may vary over the length of the shaft. The thickness of each shaft is sufficient to transmit the maximum force to be transmitted by system 100.

FIGS. 1C and 1D depict respective end and side views of sleeve 108 including slot 112. Slot 112 allows sleeve 108 to be opened and closed to be removed and replaced on shaft 102 without disconnecting shaft 102 from the equipment. Slot 112 can be made at an angle so that regardless of the load direction, the shaft 102 will always bear against a solid section of sleeve 108. The spacing of slot 112 is typically kept to a minimum and sized to prevent binding due to thermal expansion. In some applications, slot 112 is 0.020-0.040 inches, but other suitable gap sizes can be used. Slot 112 can be oriented at an angle typically ranging from from 10 to 45 degrees. For example, in some embodiments, slot 112 is oriented at a 15 degree angle.

In some embodiments, the thickness of sleeve 108 is designed to protrude a predetermined amount, for example 0.04″ or other suitable distance, above the adjacent periphery of shaft 102. The exact thickness of sleeve 108 may be chosen to be large enough to separate shaft 102 from outer shaft 104, but small enough not to cause excess interference. Manufacturing sleeve 108 from a non-metallic material can help reduce heat buildup, vibration and corrosion between sleeve 108 and shaft 102 and also between sleeve 108 and outer shaft 104.

Sleeve 108 may be made from acetal, fluoroplymer, nylon, or other suitable material. RULON® is a specially compounded fluoropolymer, which may be particularly suitable for use as sleeve 108 due to its low coefficient of friction and an excellent abrasion resistance to corrosion. Rulon requires no lubrication and may perform well under severe temperature (−400° to +550° F.) and corrosive conditions. In particular, Rulon has increased wear resistance, lower deformation under load, greater stiffness and higher compressive strength than nylon. Rulon is commercially available from Saint Gobain Performance Plastics in Aurora, Ohio, which is a division of Saint Gobain Company of Courbevoie France.

FIG. 2A is a cross-sectional view of an embodiment of inner shaft 102 partially engaged in outer shaft 104. FIG. 2B is a cross-sectional view of the inner shaft 102 of FIG. 2A more fully engaged in the outer shaft 104. FIGS. 2A and 2B also include a series of arrows depicting the flow direction of lubricating oil from an external pump to the internal periphery of shaft 102. From the internal periphery of shaft 102 the lube oil flows to the outer periphery of shaft 102 through lube oil return holes 118. From the outer periphery of shaft 102 the lube oil may return to the lube oil system (not shown) through lube oil return holes 120 in outer shaft 104. The number and diameter of lube oil return holes 118 and 120 are designed to maintain a predetermined flow and pressure at various parts of the system, including the interface of spline 122 and spline 126. If the number and/or diameter of lube oil return holes 118 and/or 120 is too small, the flow will be restricted and insufficient oil will be provide to lubricate splines 122, 126. If the number and diameter of lube oil return holes 118 and 120 are too large, then the flow to splines 122, 126 may be sufficient, but the flow to other parts of the system may be insufficient.

FIG. 2C is a side perspective view of an embodiment of the inner shaft 102 showing splines 122 in more detail. Splines 122 are configured to allow linear movement between inner shaft 102 and outer shaft 104. Thus, PTO 100 may function as an expansion joint between equipment mounted to shafts 102, 104.

Referring to FIG. 3, a block diagram of an embodiment of system 300 is shown including inner shaft 102 and outer shaft 104 coupled between engine 302 and gear box 304. In the embodiment shown, shaft 102 can be coupled to engine 302 by flange 124. Outer shaft 104 is configured in gear box 304 to drive various components such as starter 306, hydraulic pump 308, alternating current (“A/C”) generator 310, and direct current (“D/C”) generator 312. When necessary, starter 306 may provide power through gear box 304 to start engine 302. Note that other suitable equipment can be coupled to gear box 304.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 4, a diagram of an embodiment of system 400 is shown with PTO 100 installed in Airframe Mounted Accessory Drive (AMAD) gear box 402. Gear box 402 is configured to drive D/C generator 404, A/C generator 406, starter 408 and hydraulic pump 410. Flange 124 may be coupled to a flange on the engine (not shown). PTO 100 often experiences adhesive wear that prevents shaft axial movement, increasing stresses in PTO 100. The wear results in the inner shaft 102 having to be discarded and replaced during phase inspections. The outer shaft 104 also wears beyond limits resulting in the gear box 402 being removed from the aircraft and returned to the vendor prior to its normal life cycle. The premature wear poses a significant cost and maintenance issue with some aircraft programs. Using sleeve 108 helps prevent the gear box 402 from having to be removed from the aircraft and returned to the vendor for repair prior to completing its full life cycle. Sleeve 108 also helps prevent having to discard the inner shaft 102 at each inspection. Note that existing shafts 102 can be retrofitted with notch 110 thereby extending the life of PTOs 100 currently in service.

While the present disclosure describes various embodiments, these embodiments are to be understood as illustrative and do not limit the claim scope. Many variations, modifications, additions and improvements of the described embodiments are possible. For example, those having ordinary skill in the art will readily implement the processes necessary to provide the structures and methods disclosed herein. Variations and modifications of the embodiments disclosed herein may also be made while remaining within the scope of the following claims. The functionality and combinations of functionality of the individual modules can be any appropriate functionality. Additionally, limitations set forth in publications incorporated by reference herein are not intended to limit the scope of the claims. In the claims, unless otherwise indicated the article “a” is to refer to “one or more than one”.